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XCOM: Chimera Squad Timeline guide

Understand turn order and how to use it during combat Missions

How to use XCOM: Chimera Squad’s Timeline Image: Firaxis Games/2K Games via Polygon
Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

XCOM: Chimera Squad introduces a new way of determining turn order for the franchise — the Timeline. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the Timeline, show you how to control turn order, and give some tips for using the Timeline during Missions.

What is the Timeline?

XCOM: Chimera Squad’s Timeline is a visual representation of who is going to act next in a fight, pinned to the top right corner of the screen. (Think of it like initiative order in Dungeons & Dragons.) Your squad of Agents and enemies are mixed together.

XCOM: Chimera Squad Timeline turn order
Sometimes you’ll be outnumbered. Always keep your focus on the next enemy (or enemies) to act — they’re more dangerous.
Image: Firaxis Games/2K Games via Polygon

During combat, you can click on an Agent or an enemy in the Timeline to see where they are on the map. You can also see where an Agent or enemy falls on the Timeline by the number next to their name.

How’s the Timeline order determined?

You set Chimera Squad’s turn order during Breach Mode at the start of an Encounter. The order your squad goes through the door determines where they fall on the Timeline. After that, enemies get shuffled in (usually in roughly every other slot or so).

After a unit takes their turn, they drop to the bottom of the Timeline, and everyone moves up one slot.

Manage the Timeline to survive

The most effective way we’ve found to survive combat is to fight the Timeline and not the enemies themselves. Managing the Timeline is, to put it simply, preventing enemies from shooting you.

Focus on the next enemy to act. You can click on them in the Timeline to pan the over to them, or you can read the numbers (that indicate turn order) next to their names. Figure out where they are and if you can get a shot on them. If they’re too far away from you, or you just don’t have a shot, move down to the next enemy on the list.

Your first goal should always be to keep enemies from taking a turn (either by killing them and removing them from the Timeline or by using an Ability to move them down the Timeline) before you or your teammates.

As your Agents improve and gain new Abilities, you’ll start to have more options. Terminal, for example, has the Pin Down ability that doesn’t deal damage but delays that enemy’s turn and moves them down the Timeline. And that gives your teammates more chances to shoot them before they can act.

Moving an enemy down the turn order is just as important as killing them.

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